English rockers Asking Alexandria have been on the road in promotion of their latest album “From Death To Destiny” and have been keeping some great company on their road to assault the ears of the masses. Joining them on the road raging escapades are Sevendust, Emmure, All That Remains and For Today, bringing their own nu-metal/ metalcore styles into the mix. The tour made its stop in the Carolinas at Amos Southend in Charlotte, N.C on Friday, November 1, 2013 to the overwhelming excitement and fervor of hundreds of fans in the Southeast. According to excited fan posts on Facebook, some concertgoers traveled from as far as Virginia to attend this stellar collision of the stars. So devastating was the response to this event that even after it sold out lingering hopefuls clung to the outskirts of the club in hopes of stumbling upon another’s spare golden ticket.
Entering the expansive venue, there were bodies from wall to wall with barely enough room to sneeze much less move about freely. Excited hordes of enthusiasts packed the front of the house and were alight with anticipation of the rest of the night’s events. Having missed all but the tail end of Emmure’s set due to miscellaneous delays, upon arrival and rushing to the photo pit, For Today was just getting started. This Christian metalcore quintet came ripping right out of the gate. Their striking sound and stage presence was engaging and energetic. Their conviction in not only their faith, but their performance was captivating. With their rushing beats, sonic peaks and falls, For Today was alight with impassioned dedication. Closing on a spiritual note, ever the diligent soldiers, the band made sure to let the crowd know that they would not be where they were if it were not for their belief in God and that they would be available to witness to those interested after their set. With scorching vocals that sliced through the air like daggers of intent, they easily pierced the ears and hearts of several new and old fans.
As Sevendust prepared to take the stage the chanting had already begun and the masses were ready to rage. The guys took the stage with the calm charm and swagger of seasoned professionals and immediately ripped into “Splinter” from their 2010 album Cold Day Memory. From there the crowd was entranced, which was nothing unusual from what’s been witnessed at other Sevendust shows. These guys know how to captivate an audience. Madman Morgan Rose could be seen on his elevated drum riser laying waste to his set, pinkish red dreads flying with reckless abandon. Bassist Vinnie Hornsby was happily bouncing from one end of the stage to the other, waving at fans and grinning broadly. As they delved further into their set, ravaging the throng with other select choices from their vast musical catalogue like “Denial,” “Alpha” and “Till Death,” the guys really let it rip. Having now shed the black hoodie he adorned in the beginning of the set, guitarist Clint Lowery began to move around a bit more and even came to the front of the stage to toss a few souvenir guitar picks into the crowd. Guitarist John Connolly was also out and about more, whenever he wasn’t lending his vocal contributions to a song, he, like Clint, would be front of the stage engaging fans and sporadically throwing out picks. Ever the congenial frontman, Lajon Witherspoon drove the Sevendust bus home with his commanding vocals, stage charisma and fully involved performance. The band tore through the rest of their set with ruthless force and a thundering charge, playing “Decay,” “Face to Face,” and closing with “Pieces.” There is something about a Sevendust performance that always changes the mood at a show. Although they don’t climb the walls physically in every performance, they are without a doubt a must see live. Their dedication to their fans, belief in the power of music and genuine humility shine through in every performance, and because of this Sevendust has and will continue to thrive as musicians because they never forget that they are also human.
Springfield, MA. heavy metal outfit All That Remains were packing an arsenal of songs from across the board ranging from older fan favorites to newer tracks from their last release A War You Cannot Win. This heavy duty quintet mixed it up with their set incorporating high impact, shredding vicious songs like “Six” and “Down Through The Ages” with songs that carry more emotional weight like ‘Asking Too Much,” “Hold On” and “What If I Was Nothing.” The thing about seeing ATR live is that you are guaranteed to get a little bit of everything. From the fire in bassist Jeanne Sagan’s eyes to the furious head banging and hair slinging of guitarist Oli Herbert to vocalist Philip Labonte’s vein-straining, emotive vocal performance, ATR is lit from the moment they step on the stage. Their musical diversity is one of the main attractions about this outfit and the way they present their music only helps to further its impact. With their high speed riffing, dichotomous vocal stylings and thunderous drums, ATR never let you get too comfortable in one version of their sound. Their ability to change pace at breakneck speed makes them an enthralling ensemble to watch and even better to hear. “Two Weeks” closed out their set on this night and this song is an exemplary example of the kind of sonic and emotional rollercoaster ATR can take you on. With its chugging guitars, rollicking drums and intense breakdown tempered by the fiery guitar solo, “Two Weeks” closed out ATR’s set on a high, leaving the crowd hungry and anxious for headliners Asking Alexandria.
When the house lights dimmed and the filler music faded, the crowd went wild and began a raucous chant of “A-f**kin-A! A-f**kin-A!” The stage lights flashed, the fog machines kicked on, and Danny Worsnop and company filled their spots looking out over the ravenous crowd. Kicking things off with “Don’t Pray For Me,” Asking Alexandria was off to a running start. Worsnop’s voice broke through the venue like a silver knife penetrating the thus mounted anticipation. Guitarists Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell and bassist Sam Bettley quickly got into full force performance mode with their full contact head-banging and stage lunging. Drummer James Cassells was making quick and busy work of pummeling his set and setting the pace for the evening’s set list. The combination of deep guttural growls paired with high energy clean singing makes AA’s music, like many of the other performers of the night, very interesting to hear. The way they, Worsnop especially, seem to dig deep and yet keep things relatively light (at times) makes it easy to see their appeal to fans. They also have an affinity for swearing. As curse words flew from Worsnop’s mouth like leaves from a tree in Fall, it’s a safe bet that their live performances and crowd interaction may not be for the faint of heart, but for those slightly less sensitive it definitely makes for cheap laugh. At one point, Worsnop asked, by a show of hands, how many people had purchased their newest album From Death To Destiny and the majority of the crowd raised their hands. Then, he asked how many people had illegally downloaded and, with scattered chuckles, a few dozen hands lifted into the air.
“Well f**k you, too! Go buy two copies you cheap f**ks!”
There were scattered giggles throughout the audience as fans watched Worsnop’s shocked expression, thinking it was in jest, but the vocalist was far from amused.
“No, I’m serious. Go to the booth and buy two tonight!”
Despite Worsnop’s digital outrage, the show went on and the fans were ecstatic. The band powered through their set list which consisted of songs from their index including “Run Free,” “Dedication,” “A Prophecy,” “Killing You,” and “Death of Me.” Being the headliners, and thus, the climax of the evening, AA made sure the fans got their money’s worth in entertainment and song variety. Their set list consisted of a total of 15 songs that sent the crowd into frenzy at times and had the singing along in unison at others. Closing out the night on an intense high with “The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel)”, AA brought down the house with nasty guitars, throaty growls and spectacular lights.
The “From Death To Destiny Tour” still has a few more dates and there is still time to catch them on the road. You can find the remaining dates here.